Thursday, November 15, 2007

Buy Pile Report

Well, it's been three hours since I finished reading World War Hulk #5, and I'm still not sure what to make of it. I mean, heading into this event, all I really wanted was a Hulk-Smashing good time, and I guess I got that out of most issues, including this final part. We got to see Sentry really cut loose, forcing Hulk into a more heroic role, talking Sentry down off his power-crazed ledge and effectively saving the planet. In fact, it seemed like a pretty good ending.

But, then Marvel went and added a "twist." After Hulk comes to his senses, and Sentry comes to his, and Hulk tells the group that he was simply trying to torture and prove a point, not kill, we learn that it was, in fact, a member of his Warbound that blew up that ship that killed Hulk's Queen.

Umm, Exqueeze me? Granted, I didn't read "Planet Hulk," I don't know if the seeds of this were sewn there, but where the hell did this come from?!? It strikes me that this "twist" was simply a feeble attempt by Marvel to put their heroes back into the right light. Suddenly, Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic aren't accidental world killers, they're just two guys that still take morality into their own hands. But not accidental world killers. It all just tasted very cheesy to me. But should I really be surprised by this coming from Marvel?

Another book that confused me to an extent was Salvation Run #1. Again, this was an issue that really whet my appetite. We watch as these Rogues reluctantly work together on a strange world against all-odds and not only survive but begin to strive. Then, more villains (including A-Listers like Joker and Clayface) arrive and we have the makings to a GREAT story focusing simply on the interaction between all these villains...

But then, at the end of the issue, we learn that there is, in fact, a group watching the villains, who purposely planned to make the planet look less dangerous when Checkmate was checking it out as a possible prison, just so the villains would be sent to their doom. Suddenly there is a conspiracy angle to this story, and frankly I could give a damn. I was becoming enamored with the idea of all these villains out on their own -- and not I'm not so sure.

Now, I am in a bit of a rush tonight, so I'm only going to talk about one last issue... and believe it or not, it's Countdown to Final Crisis #24. Yes, Countdown. For the second straight week, Countdown dropped my jaw. Not that the book was all that great -- but the developments in it are really getting me excited. This week's issue almost entirely focuses on this black-suited Superman (presumably Superboy Prime), as he runs rampant around Earth 15, killing every hero in site.

It was gruesome and beautiful, watching a truly moral-less Superman running amok for no sane reason other than the fact that he is, in essence, a fanboy gone wrong. As I said, there was nothing all that special in this issue -- but watching the potential for evil in this character really has me excited for "Final Crisis."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This week's comic expectations

So, there's plenty of comics this week you should know already I recommend. Booster Gold #4 is out, and that series is the best not enough people are reading, yet. Black Adam #4 is out too, and that's the best mini-series I've read in years. X-Factor #25 is the next part in Messiah CompleX, so pick that up too. All-Star Superman #9 is a must-read, and if you've bought the first four World War Hulk issues, WWH #5 is an obvious choice as well.

Then, there are some books that aren't as obvious.

If you've been waiting for the whole "Skrull Invasion" to begin heating up, wait no longer. As the cover indicates, New Avengers #36 promises to lay the groundwork for that big 2008 event. While you may be a little lost following the current storyline if you haven't read issue #35, you have to get caught up eventually if you're going to be following the Skrull story, right?

A couple of Marvel mini-series also debut this week, with Captain Marvel #1 and House of M Avengers #1. CM will tell the story of a Marvel hero from the past catapulted into the future... um, no, this isn't Captain America, it just sounds like it. CM is a character Marvel has been trying to revive for a while, so may this time is the charm. HofM Avengers is exactly that -- a return to the HofM world, where we find a rag-tag group of Avengers fighting as the human minority. Now, I am skeptical about this one, only because comic companies normally wait 5 or 10 years before returning to an alternate reality, so the rush to get back to the HofM world is a bit alarming.

From DC, Salvation Run #1 has really caught my interest. The good about this new mini is the idea of top-notch villains as the main characters, trapped in a prison for some grand-scheme reason. The bad? It's a Countdown tie-in, pure and simple. So far the only good Countdown tie-in has been "Death of the New Gods." Could this be the second?

Also, Wonder Woman #14 is the debut of new writer Gail Simone. Gail has done bang-up jobs on more gritty titles like "Birds of Prey," so here's hoping she can clean up the mess that is Wonder Woman. I mean, it's not like DC has tried that recently... what? They tried it 15 months ago? Well, good luck Gail!

Finally, and I am not exactly recommending this one, we have Batman and the Outsiders #1 this week, with one of the strangest comic-book situations you'll ever hear of. After Tony Bedard wrote five crappy making-the-team-roster issues leading up to Outsiders #50, which revamped the team, he then begs off of this new book a couple of weeks before it was originally supposed to be released. So, enter new writer Chuck Dixon. The good on this is that Dixon is a pro at handling Batman and stories with similar tones as Batman. The bad? Dixon is scrambling to make this book his own. He's changing around the roster in the third issue, removing J'onn J'onzz and Catwoman, and he's trying to change the tone of the book on the fly. This doesn't exactly sound like a winning combination in the short term. Maybe in the long term.

Wednesday's comic release list

Remember World War Hulk? Yeah? Well, just checking. It's been a while, and the Marvel Universe has moved on as if it doesn't exist, so I just wanted to make sure you all remembered it. Anyway, it ends on Wednesday. Oh, and a heck of a lot else is going on too, so scour this list and I'm sure you'll find something worth heading to the local shop for.

100 Bullets #86
All Star Superman #9
Batman And The Outsiders #1
Batman Strikes #39
Black Adam The Dark Age #4
Booster Gold #4
Captain Carrot And The Final Ark #2
Cartoon Network Action Pack #19
Countdown To Final Crisis #24
Dmz #25
Fables #67
Gen 13 #14
Green Arrow Black Canary #2
JLA Classified #46
Nightwing #138
Salvation Run #1
Simon Dark #2
Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #3
Superman Batman #42
Superman Confidential #9
Teen Titans East Special #1
Un-Men #4
Welcome To Tranquility #12
Wonder Girl #3
Wonder Woman #14
World Of Warcraft #1


Amazing Spider-Girl #14
Avengers Initiative #7
Captain Marvel #1
Civil War Chronicles #5
Ghost Rider #17
Ghost Rider Annual #1
House Of M Avengers #1
Iron Man Power Pack #1
Marvel Adventures Hulk #5
Marvel Comics Presents #3
Marvel Illustrated Man In The Iron Mask #5
New Avengers #36
Nova #8
Punisher #52
Punisher War Journal #13
Spider-Man Red Sonja #4
Thor #4
Ultimate Fantastic Four #48
Ultimates Saga
Wolverine #59
World War Hulk #5
X-Factor #25
X-Men Die by the Sword #3

After The Cape II #1 Seasons In Change
Amory Wars #4
Archaic #11
Archie & Friends #114
Betty & Veronica Double Digest #156
Black Diamond #5
BPRD Killing Ground #4
Brit #3
Circle #1
Drafted #3
Dragon Cross #1
Dragonlance Chronicles Vol 3 #5
Gargoyles #6
John Woos Seven Brothers Series 2 #3
Killing Girl #4
Living With The Dead #2
Meat Cake #16
Mice Templar #2
My Inner Bimbo #2
Nicolas Cages Voodoo Child #5
Seekers #3
Spawn Godslayer #5
Sword #2
Tempest #1
Totem #1
Toyfare Mrs Claus By Mcfarlane Toys #125
Zombie Proof #2

Marvel Comics' library Online

I was incommunicado for most of the day yesterday, hanging out in northeast Massachusetts, but I wanted to just get some thoughts out on Marvel's announcement reported by USA TODAY, about them uploading 2,500 backissues to an online library. The Library is accessible for a yearly fee of $60 or a monthly of $10.

Now, the cost is really not so bad. Hell, I spend $15-25 bucks a week on new releases, so if you're someone who wants to backtrack and read all the issues of Amazing Spider-man or Fantastic Four, it makes sense.

My problem with this system is the same problem I have always had with Online comics -- reading comics on a screen just isn't very enjoyable. It's not the same as having an issue in your hands, being able to flip back and forth and back again through the pages effortlessly, being able to lie down and read in any position in any piece of furniture in the house.

I don't think computers are sophisticated enough yet to take the place of a printed comic. They may never be.

For the sake of cheap backissues, this service is good. But I get the feeling that major news organizations have the idea that this is the future achieved today -- and that's just not the case.

Heroes Report on "Four Months Ago"

Well, I don't really know what new info we learned in this episode, but it was definitely interesting, at least.

Still, before we get to the report and analysis, I have just one question: Where the hell was our Sylar explanation? I guess we'll have to wait for it.

Of these flashback storylines, really the only one that filled in pertinent information was the story of D.L.'s death. And you have to be happy that the Heroes writers at least gave this character quite the swan song, even if he's not around for this season. To make him a firefighter is not only logical, but it finally did solidify his spot as a hero in his son's eyes.

However, you knew all along that Nikki's illness was going to be the death of him, unfortunately. Her split personality (some non-Jessica girl) skipped town and found a new man to shack up with, who promptly shot D.L. in the back when he wanted to take Nikki back. This all also explains what made Nikki so eager to dump off Micah and get help.

I really liked this story because it would have been very easy to just write-off D.L.'s death as his original gunshot wound. Instead, the character is given a proper final story.

Peter's story made a little less sense. Apparently, after he "blew up," he brought Nathan to a hospital, was kidnapped by Elle and Bob, and tricked into taking pills to eliminate his powers for his own good. With the help of fellow inmate Adam, Peter realized this was, in fact, a prison.

My problem with this is, if the Company had such effective pills, then why was keeping Sylar contained such a problem in season one? And more than that, why didn't Bob use those pills on Peter to stop him from blowing up in the first place?

Anyway, Peter and Adam broke out, Adam used his blood to change mangled-Nathan back into congressman-looking-Nathan, and the Haitian's plan to erase Peter's memories in order to give him a fresh chance at life and simultaneously stop him from rendezvousing with Adam is the reason Peter was locked up and memory-less.

Two notes on this storyline: 1) Adam's blood is magic healing juice! Is Claire's? 2) Elle's performance really made me miss Candace less...

Oh, and, apparently, Adam is planning to show the world what his healing powers can do. We'll see on that one. It would be interesting, if this does come to pass, if he were to share his blood as a cure for the Shanti Virus.

Finally, we have Maya and Alejandro. What a waste of time. Once again, we see her kill people unintentionally. Once again, we see the pair's strangely-close relationship. And apparently, Alejandro really does NOT know how to pick brides. I couldn't help but feel that this flashback was so incredibly unnecessary that it was only included to help the writers fill out the whole episode.

Honestly, when I first saw Alejandro flash onto the screen, I unintentionally groaned out loud. I'm sick of these two. The only time they've ever been interesting is a couple of episodes ago when Sylar started to turn Maya evil. Their past? NOT INTERESTING!

But, next episode we get more HRG and Mohinder showdown, so I'm still happy.

This week's video game releases

If you own a Wii, you'll be playing "Super Mario Galaxy" this week. If you don't, you'll be playing "Assassin's Creed." Either way, it's a darned good week to have nothing to do. Not that I do, damnit.

Oh, and give a little love to "Kane & Lynch" at some point, too. A promising title being released in a competitive week.

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Cars Mater-National (Wii)
Volleyball (Wii)
SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis (Wii)
BlackSite: Area 51 (Xbox 360, PC)
Blue's Journey (Wii)
Ultimate Mortal Kombat (DS)
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Imagination Invaders (DS)
Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader? (DS)
Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command (PSP)

Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3)
Need for Speed ProStreet (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PS2, PC)
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Monster Jam (Xbox 360, DS, PS2, PC)
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 (Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, PSP, DS)
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles (Wii)
Petz: Dogz 2 (Wii, DS, PS2, PC)
Petz: Catz 2 (Wii, DS, PS2, PC)
Petz: Hamsterz Life 2 (DS, GBA)
Petz Horsez 2 (Wii, DS, PS2, PC)
Smarty Pants (Wii)
Beowulf (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 (Wii, PS2)
Soldier of Fortune: Payback (Xbox 360, PC)
Cabela's Big Game Hunter (Wii)
Tomb Raider: Anniversary (Wii)
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (DS)
Orcs & Elves (DS)
Contra 4 (DS)
Jenga World Tour (DS)
Baby Pals (DS)
Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends (DS)
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus (PSP)
DragonBall Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (PS2)
Sonic Rivals 2 (PSP)
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (PSP)
King of Fighters XI (PS2)
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (PS2)
Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (PS2)
EverQuest Secrets of Faydwer (PC)
EverQuest II: Rise of Kunark (PC)
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PC)
Next Life (PC)
Imagine Fashion Designer (PC)
Reaxxion (PC)


Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (Wii)
PopCap Hits volume 1 (Xbox 360, PS2)
Screwjumper! (Xbox 360)
Shrek-N-Roll (Xbox 360)
America's Army: True Soldiers (Xbox 360)
Word Jong (DS)
Super Fruit Fall (DS)
Garfield Gets Real (DS)
Ghost in the Sheet (PC)
Left Behind: Eternal Forces (PC)
SimCity Societies (PC)
Mission: WWI Combat (PC)

Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity (Wii)
Spy Games: Elevator Mission (Wii)
Smart Kid's Gameclub (DS)
Crysis (PC)
Hot Wheels: Beat That (PC)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Everything but X-Men

Maybe it's just that I'm in a bad mood after my DVR and VCR BOTH refused to tape the Grizzlies' game tonight. Maybe it's just that I read some disappointing stuff.

Of the non-X-Men books I read tonight... check that, of the non-Astonishing X-Men books I read tonight, only Marvel's First Family delivered.

Fantastic Four #551 was an intriguing first part of a three-issue arc. Basically, Dr. Doom has returned from 75 years in the future to tell Reed Richards that he's created a utopia -- and it needs to not happen for the good of mankind. He's come back with what appears to be Namor and T'Challa in order to convince Reed. Personally, I think Dwyane McDuffie just wanted to make sure to fit T'Challa into every issue of his run.

This is the first issue of any McDuffie has written that has boasted any sense of mystery, and I am actually interested to see if this 75-year future Doom is on the level. My guess is that his traveling partners are androids, but what do I know?

The rest of this week was a wash. In Superman #670 the third part of the "Third Kryptonia" storyline has come and gone with no grand sense or scale. I was hoping this storyline would be an epic Kryptonian tale -- but instead we got a generic and under-developed villain falling under the pressure of way too many last children of Krypton.

To be perfectly honest, the only other book that deserves any mentioning is actually Countdown #25. Don't get me wrong, this was by no means a good issue... but in this episode two fairly big things happen: 1) Mary Marvel is delivered to Darkseid, 2) Desaad becomes FIRESTORM.

Now, Countdown's major flaw has always been that not enough things happen, and when they do happen, they seem out of left field. I don't know how Mary Marvel is suddenly on Apocolypse. I don't know where Desaad got his hands on Professor Stein. But the fact that these two things happen did perk my interest.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mario Galaxy is the best platformer EVER?!? has just put up their review of soon-to-be-released "Super Mario Galaxy" for the Wii at THIS LINK, and after reading it, you're going to keel over in anticipation for this game.

I mean, this is the most glowing IGN review I can ever remember reading. They put this game right up there with arguably the best platformer of all time, 'Super Mario 64."

GameSpot also now has their review of the game up at THIS LINK, with many of the same thoughts and opinions, but never really talk of this game being better than "Mario 64," just similar. Personally, I don't think they should even be compared to each other.

From the sounds of it, "Galaxy" may be a game good enough to make even the most hardcore gamers pick up their Wiimotes for the first time in a long time.

Buy Pile Report: X-Men

The two books that I just had to put off work here in the office for were Astonishing X-Men #23 and Uncanny X-Men #492, for obvious reasons.

And Astonishing lived up to its name. While it's seemed at times that the X-Men running around on the Breakworld have been aimless and ineffective, suddenly the X-Men strategy of old came through in spades for this penultimate issue of Joss Whedon's story.

I won't go and ruin the surprise for you yet, since the comic has still only been on the shelves for a few minutes, but Wow Wow WOW. Whedon not only takes the X-Men and suddenly puts them into a position to win this impossible fight, but he does in in such a way that there is still mystery left to uncover in the final issue. And while I won't tell you yet whether Scott Summers survives or not, all I will say is that I am one happy Cyclops fan.

Uncanny X-Men, however, kind of sputtered. Don't get me wrong, I'll forgive the issue since it is only the second installment in a grand story, but nothing really happens here other than more chess pieces finding their starting point on the board. Cyclops asserts control in the issue (in a rather harsh way as far as Xavier is concerned), and calls in the help of Jamie Maddrox's team (something we knew would happen, but it did have to be shown in the pages, after all).

Other than a short skirmish between a few X-Men and the ex-Acolytes, this issue was also bereft of action. As I said, in the grand scheme of things I will excuse this issue... but reading this after reading Astonishing was a bit of a drag.

Consoles staying put? Why?

Reports are all over the Net today that both Nintendo and Microsoft say they think their current systems (Wii, DS and Xbox 360, respectively) are going to buck the normal 5-year console life-expectancy. On top of that, we already know that Sony has claimed their PS3 will have closer to a 10-year life.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised by this... I mean, it makes sense given Sony's recent history... When these newer systems came around, PS2 was still in it's prime. Hell, it was just entering it's prime, with "Bully" and "Final Fantasy XII" coming out around the time the PS3 was launched. The PS2 could have had a 7-year life before PS3 came around, which would have allowed Sony to take their time developing the technology and making sure all the third parties got it right.

But, that was not the case for the Xbox. And, the GameCube was floundering for a couple of years when the Wii came out.

And when you look at the 360, I, personally, think it's currently the best system out there, when you take into account the library of games and the current capabilities of game developers. But, in 3 or 4 years, the game developers will have cracked many of the PS3's secrets and the Xbox 360 games are going to start looking noticeably worse. Microsoft is really going to need to come up with a PS3 killer at that time.

And when you look at the Wii... I'm bored with it. It was a nice idea and all, and the casual gaming market still gets their 10 minutes a day of fun out of it, but until Nintendo proves their Wiimote can handle top-notch games (Mario Galaxy, that means you!) I am not ready to say I want this to be Nintendo's only console for the next 6 years.

As much as I love the idea of saving money on keepign my same old consoles, I really wonder what Microsoft and Nintendo are thinking here.

This week's comic expectations

So, you all do know that Astonishing X-Men #23 is THE must-buy book of the week, right? The penultimate chapter to Joss Whedon's story will (hopefully) reveal more of this mystery surrounding Colossus and will (hopefully) reveal that Scott Summers is still alive. Despite the horrible shipping times of this book, it's been near flawless.

But, there is more to this week that will Astonish you. For one (or two, depending how you look at it), we have two second parts to two long-awaited crossovers.

Uncanny X-Men #492 is the second part of "Messiah CompleX," and after last week's dynamite scene-setting one-shot by Ed Brubaker, I'm thrilled that he also gets to pen this second issue as well. Hopefully, we'll get to see which group has the mutant infant, and hopefully we'll get to see what the X-Men plan to do about it. And, I'm guessing Cyclops and Prof. X may have differing views on this...

Robin #168 is the second part (last week saw a prelude issue) of the "Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul" storyline. You shouldn't have needed "Batman Begins" to tell you that Ra's is one of Batman's best villains, and I have high-hopes for this Batman event, as it really starts rolling this month.

This week, we also get the final issue of the three-part "Third Kryptonian" arc in Superman #670. While the first two parts have been solid if not a little slow, we should see plenty of Kryptonian vs. Kryptonian-Killers action in this installment, and we should actually see the Third Herself in combat.

Dwayne McDuffie's final Fantastic Four arc begins this month with Fantastic Four #551. While McDuffie's work has been VERY up and down, normally with fun stories but highly-questionable arcs, I am actually looking forward to his take on Dr. Doom in this arc. It's obvious that he cut-down his last intergalactic arc just to have enough issues to tell this story, so it better be worth it!

Lots to like this week, from some of comic books' most classic heroes. Enjoy it, people!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wednesday's comic release list

Shhhhh! Be very silent and still! We're stalking the rare and wild "Astonishing X-Men," it's incrediblly fortunate to find one so close to civilization, and we don't want to scare it away! Oh, and there's some other titles out this week too. But none are as rare and victorious a catch as Joss Whedon's Mutants...

All New Atom #17
Countdown Search For Ray Palmer Red Rain #1
Countdown Special Jimmy Olsen 80 Page Giant
Countdown To Final Crisis #25
Exterminators #23
Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash #1
Infinity Inc #3
Jonah Hex #25
Justice League Unlimited #39
Looney Tunes #156
Metal Men #4
Metamorpho Year One #3
Midnighter #13
Robin #168
Scalped #11
Supergirl #23
Superman #670
Tranquility Armageddon #1
Vinyl Underground #2
Y The Last Man #59

Annihilation Conquest #1
Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #4
Astonishing X-Men #23
Criminal #10
Fantastic Four #551
Howard The Duck #2
Immortal Iron Fist #10
Iron Man Enter Mandarin #3
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #33
Marvel Legacy 1960s To 1990s Handbook Tp
Marvel Two-In-One #5
Ms Marvel #21
Mystic Arcana Sister Grimm
New Avengers Illuminati #5
Omega Unknown #2
Shanna She-Devil Survival Of The Fittest #4
Silver Surfer In Thy Name #1
Super Villain Team Up Modoks 11 #5
The Order #4
Uncanny X-Men #492
World War Hulk Gamma Corps #4

Archie Digest #239
Atlantis Rising #1
Banzai Girls #3
Betty & Veronica #231
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8
Division 18 Union Of Costumed Performers #1
Emily The Strange Vol 2 The Fake Issue #2
Fearless #1
Frank Frazettas Death Dealer B&W Sp Ed #1
Gargoyles #6
Ghosting #3
GI Joe Data Desk Handbook Coll A-M
Grimm Fairy Tales Return To Wonderland #4
Groo Hell On Earth #1
Hack Slash Series #3
Hellboy Darkness Calls #6
Herc Brown #1
Highlander #11
Iron & The Maiden #4
Living Corpse 1/2 #0
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #3
Lucha Libre #2
My Inner Bimbo #2
Mystic Funnies #2
New Battlestar Galactica Season Zero #3
Pvp #36
Se7en Wrath #7
Sonic X #26
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic #22
Star Wars Legacy #17
Steve Niles Strange Cases #2
Strange Embrace #5
Tales From The Crypt #3
Terminator 2 Infinity #4
Vampirella Quarterly Fall 2007 #2

Heroes Report on "Out of Time"

Episodes like this one are what makes the early episodes that drag worthwhile.

Sure, episodes, say #2-5 of this sophomore Heroes season weren't so hot. But last episode and this episode "Out of Time" are what make the show great. All the pieces fit together, the dominoes start falling and we get a string of three or four great episodes one after the other after the other.

With so much going on, let's just go around the horn with recaps.

Peter and Caitlin find themselves in an apocalyptic future, where we see 93% of the world's population dead thanks to the Shanti Virus. While I've made no secret that I can't stand the prospect of a plague storyline, it's always cool to see apocalyptic futures, isn't it? Unfortunately, our favorite Irish lass is taken from Peter just as he accidentally transports himself back to the past, with some if not all of his memories back.

- Momma Petrelli really made this scene for me, as the looks on her face when she saw Peter were top-notch.
- Now the question is, does Peter's returned memory change his relationship with this "Adam," and does he have all his memories back? And, can his glimpse into the future actually change anything?

Stalker-West stepped up the stalkerness by dropping in unannounced to the Bennet/Butler family with breakfast in hand. This does, of course, lead to Claire's lies getting blown and then leads to West learning about his Horn-Rimmed-Nemesis being Mr. Bennet.

- I literally laughed out loud when Stalker-West spotted HRG and thought he had come looking for him. Priceless!
- The only way this storyline possibly works for anyone is if last season is completely forgotten. After what Claire and HRG went through together, she shouldn't be turning on him so damned easily, and frankly it cheapens Season One.

Hiro and his Princess break free, allowing Hiro to blow up all those guns and save Japan. Charleton Heston shed a tear. In order to do this, he had to best "Kensei," who "died" in the explosion. Hiro, then, had to return home to fulfill Kensei's stories of sacrificing his love.

- From the start, this story could only go two ways: 1) He trains Kensei or 2) He becomes Kensei. As it turned out, he did both, with his Princess promising to spread Kensei's stories for Hiro's own good.
- I was pleased to see Hiro put his glasses back on upon returning to Ando. He just wasn't our lovable dork without them.

Possessed by Nightmare-Maury and coming after Bob, Nikki injects the virus into herself to stop the nightmare. However, it turns out Bob was a little too good at modifying that virus, because now Mohinder's antibodies don't work on her. When Bob tells Mohinder to go after Claire to get her genes, Mohinder spills the beans on his relationship with HRG.

- Wow, am I hoping this is all a planned charade orchestrated by HRG. If it isn't, Mohinder has got to be the biggest Wuss I have ever seen. At the first sign of adversity he rolls over? He's a stronger character than that! And he knows HRG's methods, he shouldn't be surprised by Ivan's death!
- I'd be shocked if Nikki dies of this plague, meaning I'll be shocked if the plague storyline remotely comes to pass. Ali Larter is not an actress I see NBC wanting to lose.

Parkman traps Nightmare-Maury in the same cage Maury was holding Molly in by using his mental powers that he didn't think he had. Molly wakes up, Maury doesn't.

- Suddenly, Parkman is a dangerous and potentially dynamite character, who can become a fantastic bad guy whenever the writers need him to become one. I love it!
- I could not be happier about Maury's defeat, if only because he was not a suitable major villain for this show...

BUT Adam "Kensei" Monroe is!!!

That's right, Kensei is, in fact, Adam Monroe, and he is the one behind most of the company's past decisions. He's also the one who is trying to team with Peter to take down the company and "punish humanity."

This show needed another potentially sinister baddie, and Maury and Bob just weren't cutting it. Adam Monroe does.

Sure, I may be hating everything about this virus garbage, but seeing who Adam Monroe is gave me renewed hope for a fantastic rest of season two, no matter how much longer it lasts.

A quick theory, though... could Monroe be Peter and Nathan's father? It would explain how Peter is so strong and how Nathan fathered invincible Claire...

Next week is apparently going to be one of Heroes' patented flashback episodes answering some questions, so I'd bank on another great episode in seven days.

I was becoming one of this show's biggest critics two weeks ago -- and now I am silenced.

Writers Guild is on strike -- are comics? has a great little feature up at THIS LINK on the impace the WGA's strike will have on comics and their writers.

It's worth pointing out that comics writers are not a part of the WGA, so no comic production will slow down because of the strike. Quite the contrary, now TV and Movie writers who dabble in comic books will have more time to work on their books. If only Whedon was still writing Astonishing X-Men, we might get a decent release schedule!

Boy hires Hitman for PlayStation-Snatching Parents

I swear, this is like a story out of new spinoff "Law and Order: Special Gamers Unit"


A boy tried to hire a hitman after being kicked out of his house for misbehaving. According to the story, the first disciplinary action that enraged this 17-year-old was confiscating his PlayStation.

All I can say here is, this boy ain't too bright. It's not like this took his Xbox.

This week's video game releases

It's Mario. It's Sonic. It's Olympics. It's another GREAT week for us gamers!

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PC)
Agatha Christie: And then There Were None (Wii)
Bee Movie Game (Wii)
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (Wii)
Build-A-Bear (DS)
Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys (DS)
Aqua Teen hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am (PS2)
Bratz 4 Real (DS)
The Bee Game (GBA)
Tips, Tricks & Trips + Aircraft Collection (PC)
Zoo Vet: Endangered Animals (PC)
Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance (PC)

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii)
F.E.A.R. Files (Xbox 360)
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS)
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War (PS3, Xbox 360)
Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII (PS3)
Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2008 (Xbox 360, PS2)
Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour (Wii)
My Word Coach (Wii, DS)
Octomania (Wii)
Scene It? Lights, Camera Action (Xbox 360)
Ontamarama (DS)
LifeSigns: Surgical unit (DS)
Puzzle de Harvest Moon (DS)
My Spanish Coach (DS)
My French Coach (DS)
Panzer Tactics DS (DS)
Horse Life (DS)
Enchanted (DS)
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (DS)
The Simpsons Game (PSP)
SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Tactical Strike (PSP)
Silent Hill: Origins (PSP)
World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets (PSP)
Power Rangers: Super Legends (PS2, GameCube, PC)
Gears of War (PC)
Viva Pinata (PC)
F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate (PC)
The Sims 2: Teen Style Stuff (PC)
Hot Wheels: Beat That (PC)
Ghost in the Sheet (PC)
Empire Earth III (PC)

Indy 500 (Ds)
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Beginning of Destiny (PS2)
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: SBK-Superbike World Championship (PSP)

My Pet Dolphin (DS)
Left Brain Right Brain (DS)
Sam & Max Episode 201: Ice Station Santa (PC)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

BIG STUFF on Saturday in the Poughkeepsie Journal's Gaming page. (PAGE 5C!)

Remember when I told you we may have an interview at some point with Steve Chiavelli, an Our Lady of Lourdes graduate who helped create the Nintendo DS' "Drawn to Life"? Well, I wasn't just blowing smoke.

On Saturday, read a Q&A with the former Hopewell Junction resident and hear all about how the innovative game was made.

Oh, and we also have a review of the Simpsons Game, as well as a fantasy football column.

BIG BIG STUFF! So give a little love to Chiavelli and "Drawn to Life" and buy the Journal on Saturday!

Catching up

OK, so I've been MIA since writing that first Buy Pile Report on Wednesday. I've been finishing off "Kingdom Hearts II" in what little time I have away from work. Yes, I know I'm late to the party on this, it's a game I had always planned on playing, since I loved the first, but the timing just never worked.

You understand what it's like to plan on putting the controller down at a certain time, only to end up playing until sunrise, right? Yeah, I knew you would understand.

Either way, just a quick finish to that Buy Pile Report...

- If you picked up Countdown to Final Crisis #26, you don't need to worry about buying the first 25 issues of this story. It's like as if Cliffs Notes was employed by DC to recap their story in which nothing ever happens.

- Justice Society #10 dropped my jaw. I know I am getting a little fanboyish lately regarding this title, but when KC Supes swooped in to save that girl, I wanted to cheer, right here in the middle of the newsroom.

- Death of the New Gods #2 continued to succeed in every way... except for choosing Mister Miracle's new color scheme. He just looks a bit too, I don't know, Obsidianish. Still, great story here, the best far and away of the Countdown Tie-ins.

- Action #858 confused the hell out of me... I mean, it was a good start to the story and all, but since when is Clark Kent so socially inept? Didn't that whole angle get dropped somewhere around 1988? Isn't he married with now a foster son? Am I missing something?

The other topic I wanted to touch on was this whole "Manhunt 2" hack. Is anyone really surprised by this? I mean, the programmers put all that time and effort into making the game the right way at first, then they have to trash all their most gruesome stuff... OF COURSE they are going to leave some of it in there if you know how to get to it!

And yeah, they probably only intended to that good extra stuff to be used by people they know, and by themselves in the future, but should anyone really be surprised that the general public is now seeing it? The programmers did enough to slip this game past Mr. Conservative Goalie, but not because they wanted to.

And now the choice to buy it or not for your kid isn't up to the ESRB, its up to — GASP — parents! Oh, no, the law won't help you now, parents, are you going to take an interest in your kids lives now and stop them from playing this game? Probably not.